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Happy New Year

Michigan Veterans Affairs (MVAA) Agency and the Michigan Veteran Coalition (MVC)

I am not sure about you, but I am hoping that 2021 will be way better than in 2020.  The pandemic continues to strain businesses, government /healthcare resources, families, and everyone’s mental health.

While many Michigan counties have a Veterans’ Affairs office, the others have no primary resource to assist veterans.  There are agencies like the Michigan Veterans Affairs (MVAA) Agency and the Michigan Veteran Coalition (MVC) to help fill those gaps.

The MVAA various programs to help connect with veterans.  The Buddy to Buddy volunteer mentorship program supports veterans of all eras in linking them to resources that address multiple issues.  This program requires volunteers that can provide veterans with one-on-mentorship.  The MVAA also has a program called “Check on MIVet.”  This program aims to provide the employment, education, healthcare, quality of life, or other resource information they need to thrive.  To learn more, go to www.michiganveterans.com/mvaaCheckonMIVET.

The Michigan Veterans Coalition comprises representatives from the following four veteran service organizations: American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The MVC employs Veteran Service Officers (VSO) to assist veterans and their dependents in gathering information necessary to support a claim and file a claim.  The MVC can also help with filing appeals for denied claims.  The MVC has VSOs throughout the state of Michigan.  To find out who is in your county, go to www.michiganveterans.com/find-benefits-counselor

We all have our views on how to handle this pandemic.  Whether it aligns with the elected officials and the Michigan Health Department’s or not, please show kindness and courtesy to those around us.  COVID continues to pit people against each other. Please don’t allow it into your bubble of relationship to ruin them. 

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Happy Veterans Day

To all my fellow veterans, thank you. Thank you for raising your hand to commit to serving your country in whatever capacity required of you.  

Most of the time, veterans leave their time in service with a desire to give their time and energy to serving other people. This month’s issue contains stories of extraordinary people that want just to keep helping!

Financial Assistance

Sometimes people experience financial hardship and need help.  Just because someone is a veteran, it doesn’t make us immune to this issue.

Veterans In 2019, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) worked with legislators to pass the Community Veterans Service Fund grant statute that provides each county with a $50,000 base grant and additional funds based on the veterans per capita.

Counties that apply can use the funding for anything to further assist or reach out to veterans.  Some counties have used the budget for things like hiring more staff, purchase transportation for veterans, expand technology in their office, offer new services, Meijer grocery vouchers, and expand financial assistance dollars for veterans in need.  These are just a few examples.

With that said, the MVAA CVSF is not the only funding mechanism in assisting veterans experiencing a financial crisis.  The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) is available for wartime veterans experiencing an unforeseen emergent situation.  The MVTF fund is currently over $61 million and is used solely for assisting veterans.  The MVTF has assisted with larger emergencies like roof repair, car repairs, dental work, furnace replacement, etc.

Most local county Department of Veterans Affairs also has funding to assist veterans with emergencies.  Usually, county funding is set aside for smaller emergencies like a utility bill, propane, rent, gas card, work boots, etc.

All these funding sources have an application process that could consider income, expenses and household members. 

If you or a veteran you know needs assistance, please have them check with their county office for further details.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. If you are alone this holiday season, please reach out to your fellow brothers and sister in arms for the community and connection we all need! If you know of a veteran living alone, please, call, visit, or just drop them a quick note to let them know you care.

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